Comparison is Keeping You Stuck: 3 Keys to Healing & Growth after Child Loss

When I started my coaching career helping grieving moms, it was about a year and a half after my son James died when he was 12 weeks old. A question I was asked often by grieving moms was, “How are you able to coach other moms so soon after James’ death? My son or daughter died three years ago, two years ago, or 10 years ago, and I can’t imagine doing what you’re doing right now.”

I hadn’t put a lot of thought into it until recently, and it made me realize what it really takes to heal and grow after the death of a child.  

*Disclaimer* Remember to never compare your journey to someone else’s journey because you don’t know what they’ve done to get to where they’re at. You don’t know what they’ve had to go through to get there, and it’s okay that you’re in your place, that I’m in my place, and other people are in their places. No journey is the same.

Back to my epiphany. A few months ago my husband and I were walking past our neighbor’s yard. It’s beautiful with flowers, shrubs, and plants perfectly placed throughout and almost no weeds in sight. I said to my husband, “Oh my gosh, I just love their yard. I want our yard to look like their yard.” And he replied, “Yeah, but do you know what it took to get their yard?”

Then last week I was walking past their yard adoring the peonies, and it just came to me!

When grieving moms ask me, “How are you able to do what you do so soon after your son’s death?” The answer is the same as the answer to my husband’s question. “Do you know what it takes to get a yard like that?”

There are three key components to both!

First, knowing that you cannot do this alone. You need support. When we walk past our neighbor’s yard, there’s one of two people working in their yard. It’s not just one person. I finally got to a point in my grief where I didn’t recognize myself. I was constantly yelling and screaming back and forth with my daughter, and anything my husband tried wasn’t working. I knew I needed to get support. I started seeing a therapist for myself, and we started seeing a therapist for our daughter, which really turned into a family therapist for us all.

I could not do it alone. My family could not do it alone.

The second key is that you have to be willing to invest your time. When I think back to my conversation with my husband about our neighbor’s yard, I remember him saying, “I don’t want to spend that much time working in our backyard. Do you know how much time they work on their yard to get it to look like that?”

You see me in this space, training and supporting other grieving moms, but do you know how much time I’ve spent on my own personal growth and transformation? I have gotten and continue to get A LOT of support.

Between my two therapists, I was going to therapy 3 times a month, almost once a week! Soon after I let go of my personal therapist, I found a growth and transformation program with a team that supports me weekly. I spend as much time on my own inner work as I do coaching grieving moms.

The third key is you have to be able to invest some money. It takes money to invest in support because we have to find the right support. Support from family and friends is great and can be so helpful, but it’s not the only kind of support you need to grow and heal.

I know for me and my family, I invested way more money than I ever thought I was going to. I decided I didn’t want to be stuck anymore so I got rid of excuses and trusted. And guess what? I’d pay double that to get the support I’m getting with the results I’m seeing.

When I compare my yard to my neighbor’s, I have to ask myself, “Am I willing to do what they do?” Right now my answer is no, I’m not willing to put in that much time. I’m not willing to get extra support. I’m not willing to invest in extra money. I’m investing a little bit of money and time in our backyard, and I’m getting a little bit of support. What I am willing to do is producing my results.

If I’m truly unhappy with my yard, then I have to make it a priority. Right now, I’m not unhappy enough with my yard. I’m choosing to embrace it, enjoy it, know that we’re doing our best, and that’s good enough for us.

Are you willing to do what I’ve done to get my results?

If your answer is no, that’s okay. You’re doing the best you can.

If your answer is yes, and you want to make a big transformation, you want to grow and heal through your grief while still honoring your child and grief by not pushing it down or ignoring it, then, you’re saying, “I’m willing to go through the tough stuff that Michelle had to go through,” because it’s not easy.

If you don’t want to be stuck anymore, then it’s time to make these shifts. It’s time to say, “I can’t do it alone.” I need to invest some serious time, and I need to invest some serious money into my healing, growth and transformation in order to get to where I want to go. I’m not even sure where I want to go, but I know I don’t want to stay here.

Let’s connect! I love hearing from you and learning more about how I can support you. Schedule a quick 15 min connect call so you can start to see your path more clearly.

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